Community Capacity and Solutions: VISTA Service Opportunity Highlights

Group photo of VISTA members and leaders of all ages

The AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program was founded in 1965 to help eradicate poverty in the United States. VISTA members serve with a project for one year, building the capacity of local non-profit organizations and public agencies to reduce poverty in our community. The Eco3 VISTA Cohort addresses poverty holistically from various angles such as food access and systems, community development, equity, energy justice, climate adaptation, resilience, and more. While serving the community, Eco3 VISTA members also gain valuable experience and access to professional development opportunities, become part of a passionate and service-oriented cohort, and take home an education award or cash stipend at the end of the service year. 

VISTA is a great opportunity to try something new and learn more about yourself and the world around you, all while finding and developing solutions to some of our nation’s most pressing problems. Learn more about the Eco3 VISTA Program to see if our program is right for you! 

The following positions are still open! Applications can be submitted on and are due on July 19!

The Carlton County Community and Family Initiatives Department (CFI) is dedicated to creating a healthier and more sustainable environment for the youth and families of Carlton County. The Department strives to create and foster resources, connections, and programs for youth and families impacted by diverse circumstances and lived experiences. The VISTA will seek to improve community resiliency through improving volunteer programs, developing and launching a marketing campaign, and assisting in the development of strategies/tools to strengthen opportunities for youth and families. The VISTA member will also have the opportunity to research, design, and develop a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) training. The VISTA significantly impacts the community by enhancing program efficiencies, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness.

Highlighted Member Duties:

  1. Build a marketing campaign that includes a calendar, outreach strategies, and a standard operating practice for press releases that help to address the needs of families and promote their overall well-being
  2. Enhance and strengthen the Department’s volunteer program. 
  3. Work as part of the team to develop intervention strategies to strengthen opportunities for youth and families by assisting with research and development.

Help develop and improve opportunities for people with lived experience of homelessness to provide feedback, accountability, and leadership within CHUM and across the homeless response system in Duluth. CHUM is the largest nonprofit safety net in Northeastern Minnesota. Now in its 50th year, CHUM serves over 8,000 low-income, homeless, and hungry individuals a year through its shelter, drop-in center, warming centers, permanent housing programs, and food shelves. CHUM’s VISTA member will improve organizational capacity by developing ongoing systems of feedback, accountability, and leadership that ensure people personally impacted by homelessness are helping to drive existing and emerging housing and shelter programs toward the best outcomes.

Two people point at a brick building and talk.

Highlighted Member Duties:

  1. Best practice research: Visit and learn from other programs and report back to CHUM and Stepping On Up leadership.
  2. Focus groups and lived experience council: Research homelessness in our community, identify individuals to provide feedback to leadership, and work with the lived experience council.  
  3. Implement strategies for client feedback and leadership within CHUM.

Nagaajiwanaang (Fond du Lac Band) is one of the six Bands of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Today, the Band includes over 4,000 members. The Band has always been, and continues to be, a proud sovereign Ojibwe nation. The Band upholds all of its rights retained and agreed to within the 1825, 1826, 1837, 1842, 1847, and 1854 Treaties. The VISTA member will be based at the Fond du Lac Reservation’s Gitigaaning (gardens and farm), Na’enimonigamig (kitchen/cannery) and the Brookston farm location (orchard and future mashkode-bizhiki (buffalo)) location and will work with all Agricultural Division staff throughout their term. Some travel to off-site trainings may occur. VISTA members will be serving on the Fond du Lac Reservation, working on the Band’s food sovereignty efforts as it pertains to climate change and sustainability by working alongside the Agricultural Division.

Highlighted Member Duties: 

  1. Disaster services planning. 
  2. Assess the current state of the farming areas. 
  3. Work with staff to develop a plan that helps negate the effects of climate change and drought.
  4. Look for funding to help reach Band goals. 
  5. Help Fond du Lac write a plan to implement Band goals.

The Fond du Lac Reservation is located next to Cloquet, MN, just 20 miles southwest of the city of Duluth. The Treaty of 1854 between the United States Government and the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa established the Reservation, comprising 101,400 acres. The VISTA will work to address planning, GIS, and economic development opportunities for the Fond du Lac Reservation, and work with Planning Division staff to build capacity and coordinate the development GIS program for the Fond du Lac Planning Division.

Highlighted Member Duties:

  1. Research GIS needs and uses for the Fond du Lac Planning Division. 
  2. Develop projects and programs to support future community and economic development efforts. 
  3. Support and research grant writing efforts.

The Lighthouse Center for Vital Living (LCFVL) is committed to helping individuals of all ages who face challenges related to disability or aging. LCFVL provides a range of services, including specialized training and occupational therapy, to empower those LCFVL serves to lead confident, independent, and fulfilling lives. Help leverage the power of technology to help people build the skills and tools they need to overcome obstacles, seize opportunities, and actively engage in their communities. This position will build capacity around multiple systems to further the impact of LCFVL’s work and long-term sustainability. 

Highlighted Member Duties: 

  1. Expand public relations, communications, outreach, and fundraising capacities. 
  2. Develop and maintain customer relationship management systems. 
  3. Expand program fundraising and grant writing systems to increase efficiency and effectiveness. 

Mentor North is a non-profit agency serving Duluth, MN, and Superior, WI. Mentor North’s mission is to celebrate youth and support their families through one-on-one mentorship and community engagement. Mentor North enrolls Twin Ports-area youth ages 7-14 and matches them with adult volunteers based on complementary interests, personality, values, identities, lived experiences and goals. The goal is to create a vibrant and inclusive mentorship community. The VISTA will develop meaningful volunteer opportunities beyond the one-on-one mentoring central to Mentor North’s mission and explore community aspirations and trends related to volunteerism. The Member will analyze Mentor North’s current needs, volunteer opportunities and barriers to volunteer involvement; and develop and implement systems for expanded and accessible volunteer engagement, including positions, recruitment, procedures, tracking, recognition and evaluation.

Stock image of children coloring at a table

Highlighted Member Duties: 

  1. Analyze trends in volunteerism, local and national.
  2. Analyze the organization’s current models and barriers to recruiting volunteers.
  3. Develop systems for expanded and accessible volunteer engagement.
  4. Create ongoing relationships with organizations to recruit volunteers.